how to choose an assisted living community

How to Choose an Assisted Living Community

If it’s time for you or a loved one to start exploring senior care options, it’s important to know exactly what to look for so you can choose the ideal community. This decision goes much deeper than just choosing a facility that fits into the budget or one that has a nice floor plan. Ultimately, the senior care community you choose should focus on individual care that nourishes each resident’s physical, spiritual, and emotional well being.

Types of Senior Care

Before you even begin researching communities, you need to first define what kind of care is needed. These are the types of care that are offered at most retirement communities:

    • Assisted living: This is perfect for seniors who do not need the full-time care but still want assistance with small things like meals, transportation, or medication management.
    • Independent care: Residents have the opportunity to lead their own lives without the burdens of home ownership or maintenance.
    • Memory care: This type of specific care is typically reserved for residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
    • Respite care: Also called short-term assisted living, this type of care ensures that you or your loved one is receiving the best possible care during short-term periods.

Where to Start:

Now that you’ve defined what type of care is necessary, it’s time to start doing some research. Most of the time, this process will start online with the help of search engines like Google. When starting this process, it can be easy to become overwhelmed simply because there are so many options available.

If you feel overwhelmed or aren’t sure how to start, here are some tips for searching online:

    • Use specific keywords: If you know the general area and the type of care needed, use specific keywords during searches — ‘assisted living in [city], [state]’ or ‘independent care near me’.
    • Read lots of reviews: Don’t limit yourself to just viewing the communities website. Check multiple sources for reviews and testimonials.
    • Consider lifestyle: Make sure you are looking at facilities that will meet the lifestyle needs of you or your loved one. For example, if they have a pet, make sure pets are allowed at the community.
    • Dig deeper: Don’t just scratch the surface when it comes to your internet research. Make sure to go to multiple different websites and compare those to their competition.

What to Ask:

Once you’ve narrowed down your search and zeroed in on a couple options, the next course of action is to schedule a tour. While this may be time consuming, it’s important to do the legwork in person so you can ask the right questions, check out the facilities in person, and see how residents/staff interact.

Here are some helpful examples of questions we often receive during tours of our community:

  • What types of care is offered?
  • What kind of ADLs are provided?
  • Is continuing care offered, or will we have to move facilities eventually?
  • What is the average length of stay?
  • What is the average age of the residents?
  • What kinds of qualifications does the medical staff have?
  • What makes this facility different from others?

Also keep in mind that you don’t have to do this all in one visit. In fact, it will most likely take a couple visits to make a decision that you are comfortable with. This is especially true if you are doing the legwork on behalf of a loved one, because they should be involved in the process before any decisions are made.

Making the Choice:

The final decision to move into a retirement community can be a difficult and emotional one, especially if there are health issues involved. In the end, it’s all about finding a facility that you or your loved one will be most comfortable with. When a decision is finally made, you should feel confident knowing that you did all of the necessary research and asked the right questions.

Contact Stone Ledge Manor today if you have additional questions by calling us directly at (813) 986-7900 or filling out the contact us form on our website. We look forward to meeting you and your family!